Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: The flag referendum: complicating your decision

108 Responses

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  • izogi, in reply to Russell Brown,

    He really is agonising over this.

    It seems like a very trivial thing to agonise over in the context of everything that our nation's columnists could be writing about. But that's been this entire circus since its beginning.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to izogi,

    Canvassing opinion...

    But that’s been this entire circus since its beginning.

    Though it is a 'four star' circus and not a '3 ring' one...
    and that is the finest swamp kauri sawdust on the tent floor!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7886 posts Report Reply

  • william blake, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    If we are living in such a liberal democracy why were we not asked if the flag needed to be changed?

    Since Mar 2010 • 378 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Speaking of the media, what the hell is going on back there in NZ??? Since voting started the MSM (as far as I can see from here) seems to have dropped any pretence of balance and launched into a frenzy of pro-change propaganda. It looks suspiciously like an almost coordinated pro-government PR blitz. Tell me it aint so.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2210 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Hooton, in reply to william blake,

    We're being asked just that, right now. And the overwhelming majority of us voted for the National, Labour or Green parties, all of which had manifesto promises to face a flag-change process. All three parties were also involved in selecting the flag consideration panel.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 194 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    It looks suspiciously like an almost coordinated pro-government PR blitz. Tell me it aint so.

    It's hard to view it any other way Tom. While we expect patsies like Hosking & Henry and the usual Nat fanboys to promote the PM's preferred choice of flag, a whole pile of b-grade celebs have been wheeled out recently to push the party line. With polling running at around 70/30 in favour of no change, it's a bit like watching the dying days of the Jeb Bush campaign.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1381 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    Here's another example from today's Sunday Star Times -- a piece entitled "Get rid of our embarrassing relic of a flag" from someone called Anthony Hubbard.

    Labour has shown that when it comes to the flag they are an odious bunch of hypocritical cowards.

    Does this count as journalism? Seriously?

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1381 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    not realistic in a messy pluralistic society. Has any new republic come about the way you suggest?

    Theres always a chance someone, somewhere might behave as if human affairs dont have to be messy, and we dont constantly fight amongst ourselves, with our own agenda uppermost in our mind. 'Twould certainly make a change for the better.

    But its pointless arguing with those who have REALIST stamped on their forehead.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Hooton, in reply to Alfie,

    You think Anthony Hubbard is part of a pro-government PR campaign???

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 194 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Hooton, in reply to andin,

    I think messy societies are better than neat and tidy ones.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 194 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Alfie,

    Get rid of our embarrassing relic of a flag” from someone called Anthony Hubbard.

    Hubbard really throws everything into the pot

    The claim that $26m is a large number is wrong. The claim that it would be better spent on hip operations is daft.
    Last year the government spent more than $94 billion. The cost of the flag referendum is therefore a mere 0.00027 per cent of the budget. It's a piffling price to pay for the important democratic act of choosing our national symbol.

    It's as if he is trying to imply 'we' spent $94 billion on hip operations
    (by my reckoning and rough research there are about 6,500 such operations a year (public and private) each at cost between $15,000 and $25,000 = $130 million maybe - (health insurance source for that) so yeah they coulda done an extra 1300 or so for $26 million - not to be sneezed at)

    and as to"the important democratic act of choosing our national symbol"
    well we didn't get to choose, an undemocratically selected bunch of B list celebrities - including sycophants like Julie Christie, a saatchi CEO and Brian Lochore got to choose on our behalf - and even then they gave us no diversity of choice - 3 ferns and a spiral.

    Anyway it is the Australian flag that is crap, the silly sub-asterisk 6 pointed stars are out of proportion, looking more like seagull splats - while ours is nicely balanced and elegant - I was looking at them hanging along with many other nations' flags in the CPIT atrium yesterday - I think ours stood up just fine, and at least it didn't have a sword on it like one of them!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7886 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    I think

    sometimes not often tho' ;-\

    messy societies

    Are easier for the unscrupulous to turn a profit
    And theres a few of those floating around in NZ at the mo'

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    You think Anthony Hubbard is part of a pro-government PR campaign???

    I don't know the guy from Adam so I wouldn't say that Matthew. I am saying that his rhetoric struggles to qualify as journalism.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1381 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Hubbard:

    Last year the government spent more than $94 billion. The cost of the flag referendum is therefore a mere 0.00027 per cent of the budget.

    Thing is, there's always more money on this scale. If that's the argument, then why didn't we spend another $26 million on hip operations? If $26 million (or whatever it is exactly) hadn't gone towards organising a couple of flag referendums, it most likely would have gone towards paying off government debt, and become invisible to the populace, despite still going somewhere important. Government spending is about balancing this kind of stuff.

    Hip operations are balanced against plenty of things: What about the high risk investment of trying to save the Kakapo? What about renevations to make parliament look nicer? What about keeping the propellers and guns working on each of the NZ Navy's frigates? What about income tax rates? People don't tend to complain so much about these sorts of things, and there are a large number of other possible spending targets that'd be unlikely to raise eyebrows. The fact that the government chose to spend this money on a flag change process as it's been executed, instead of anything else, and that so many people believe it's a bad appropriation, strongly suggests that the government's either done dreadful job of making the outcome of this process as valuable to the populace as any number of other things would be, or that it's done a hideous job of selling it.

    Either way it's absolutely valid to question why the money's being thrown at this, and to make sure those who chose to spend it are fully aware of the discontent. I find the recent accusations that anti-government motivations are behind everyone who claims spending on the referendums is stupid to be quite insulting.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to izogi,

    it most likely would have gone towards paying off government debt

    not yet, under this govt. Still racking it up in our names.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • kw, in reply to izogi,

    My chief current bugbears are the overuse of words like immature and petulant to describe people like me who lean left, favour a change, but don't like what's on offer.

    It all comes back down to process. Last year, those of us who favour change said, let's ask first whether we want to change on principle, and were told we couldn't be expected to make up our minds unless we knew what the alternative would be. Now we know what the alternative is, we're being abused for not voting on principle.

    I ticked the box for the current flag because I don't like the silver fern that much. At this time of year, I have stronger nationalistic pride about Bluff oysters. (Did anyone suggest a hologram paua flag? That would have been magnificent, if difficult to replicate.)

    So I also strongly object to the likes of Jonathan Milne informing me that my choice was all about the PM. If there is such a thing as KDS, maybe its manifestation is to think that everything is about him. Some of us try not to think much about politicians...

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2014 • 30 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to kw,

    Did anyone suggest a hologram pāua flag?
    That would have been magnificent, if difficult to replicate.

    Current regime is not big on giving 'Pāua to the People'...
    Where is the Abalone Ranger when we need him?
    :- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7886 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    I think messy societies are better than neat and tidy ones.

    I suspect you are thinking of places and possessions rather than people, those inconvenient things that societies are built from.
    Beings tend to need a semblance of order so as to understand the accepted reality of their culture, chaos, that messy stuff, only favors the sly, through confusion.
    In May 2006, Theresa Gattung told a group of analysts:
    “Think about pricing. What has every Telco in the world done in the past? It’s used confusion as its chief marketing tool, and that’s fine.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Where is the Abalone Ranger?

    He’s got Haliotis, hence the mask.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1886 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    What you really mean

    What I really mean is I want things to be done properly, not the half-arsed, rushed, botched up nonsense this government is so good at.

    Oh, but wait, you then say:

    It has been quite a number of decades since people have been happy to leave decisions to the experts, especially questions of national identity

    So I don't know, which is it? We can't go through a proper process of discussing our constitutional arrangements because it's "not realistic in a pluralistic society"? Or we no longer leave decisions on questions of national identity to the experts?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Kevin McCready,

    Have to disagree with you on the intelligence you attribute to the would be strategic voter. Not sure how many voters you talk to but I talk to a lot during campaigning. Huge swathes of people, including some you would expect to understand strategic voting, have no idea. Even some comments in this thread demonstrate that.

    Auckland • Since Jun 2013 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Alfie,

    Does this count as journalism? Seriously?

    Yes.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    Looking at the Electoral Commission referendum statistics it looks like the voting numbers are substantially up, compared to the first referendum. It looks like about 1.79 million have voted, whereas at this point last time it seems about 1.2 million had voted.

    http://www.elections.org.nz/events/referendums-new-zealand-flag-0/voting-second-referendum/voting-statistics

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1019 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Ben Austin,

    1.9 million as of yesterday, and well on target to exceed 2 million.
    It’s not exactly a surprise that this referendum, with a potentially tangible outcome, is being taken a bit more seriously than the initial selection between hard-to-distinguish hypotheticals that not too many were very highly invested in.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1886 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Key is claiming the referendum is a success because so many people have responded.
    John Key on flag referendum: Nation has voted in 'extremely high' numbers
    But..
    John Key: vote against Silver Fern flag in referendum won't damage my legacy
    WE shall see.......

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

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